Athelstan Museum has a wide ranging collection illustrating many aspects of Malmesbury history; there are so many items that it is impossible to show all of them, or even a major part, so displays are rotated on a regular basis.
Most of the collection is of local interest and importance but there are some articles of national significance. Malmesbury Lace was once much sought after; it was famed as a luxury fashion statement and the museum has a comprehensive collection, not only of the lace but of associated material.
There is a wealth of paintings, engravings, drawings, photographs and other images. Some are very fine; pride of place goes to a a watercolour of the Abbey by J.M.W. Turner, and we also have a drawing of the Market Cross by Tom Girton. Girton was a contemporary of Turner who said ‘had Tom lived then had I starved’. There are many images of the Abbey, which illustrate its chequered history, with dilapidation and restoration. Malmesbury’s 15th Century Market Cross is well represented, naturally, and there are some wonderful pictures of the town and around.
Malmesbury in Saxon times had a mint and examples of the silver pennies struck there are in the collection as are numerous other coins and tokens.
There is much more of interest; some items are beautiful, some are quirky, some are valuable and some are not. Please use the menu to find out more about the collection, and then come to the Athelstan Museum to see for yourself.
Turner picture is on display
Thanks to significant grant funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Art Fund, the museum has been able to purchase a fine watercolour of Malmesbury Abbey by J M W Turner.
This is now on display on the mezzanine floor.
Some of our items are in storage. If you want to see a particular item please get in touch.